Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Science Studies

First Advisor

Dr. George G. Mallinson

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Anne Bunda

Third Advisor

Dr. Patrick Norris

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Robert H. Poel


The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether the use of an activity worksheet during a museum visit to a science exhibit might help students achieve the objectives proposed for the visit. Two types of museum visits were identified: structured and nonstructured. During the structured visit students used the activity worksheet that focused their attention on concepts, displays, and activities presented in the exhibit. During the nonstructured visit, students did not use any attention-focusing device; instead, they interacted with the exhibit according to their own interests and preferences.

Secondary goals of the study were to determine if gender-related differences in achievement existed between the students that experienced the visits and if there was an interaction effect between the type of visit and gender on achievement.

A sample of 246 second- and third-grade students from five school districts of southwestern Michigan was selected for this study. Classes were randomly assigned to either structured or non-structured visits. After the visit, a test was administered to assess achievement of the objectives students were expected to accomplish as a result of their experiences.

The analysis of variance of the data showed that students who experienced structured visits scored significantly higher ($p$ $<$.05) on the achievement test than those students who experienced nonstructured visits. However, significant gender differences in achievement were not found. Further, significant interaction effect was not detected between the type of visit and gender on achievement.

The findings of this study provide evidence that the use of a worksheet to structure visits to museum exhibits can be a valid method to help ensure the achievement of the objectives proposed for museum visits.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access